June 18, 2011: Emergency Response Headquarters News #16

June 11, 2011: Emergency Response Headquarters News #15

June 4, 2011: Emergency Response Headquarters News #14


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Reformed Church in Japan Diaconal Action Committee
Emergency Response Headquarters News #16
 

Special General Assembly Report

    The special general assembly ended with God’s blessing. The clerks’ report of the meeting will be sent out later, but we want to use this news release to report about the fund-raising results and the volunteer activities.

First Donation Campaign Report

    Of the 52,298,879 received during the first fund-raising campaign period, 18,645,886 was received from 20 overseas sources. We give thanks that the campaign was blessed by the prayers and donations from many churches and individuals from around the world!
    The “Principles” to guide the expenditure of the funds was approved by the general assembly, and we will make distributions in accordance with that as follows:

I. Emergency relief (short-term)                                                     total     52,298,879

1. Support to those in the Reformed Church in Japan                                 36,370,000
    1) Support to believers with losses: 13,970,000 (31 people, amounts ranging from 10,000 ~
        2,000,000)
    2) Support to “tent-maker” pastors of evangelistic stations: 1,000,000 (2 people)
    3) Support to damaged churches and to help secure worship facilities: 21,400,000 (18 churches, amounts ranging from 50,000 ~ 7,500,000)

2. Support to causes outside the Reformed Church in Japan (26.6%)             13,900,000
    Sendai Christian Coalition             6,000,000
            giving support to churches, believers and others with losses ecumenically throughout
            Northeast Japan
    International Food for the Hungry 1,700,000 (partner of the CRCNA)
    Yodogawa Christian Hospital         800,000 (partner of the PCUSA)
    Higashi Sendai Church                 3,300,000 (volunteer center)
            2,300,000 for expenses up to the special general assembly; 1,000,000 for expenses
                    anticipated for further activities
    Special entrusted relief funds         2,100,000
            1,100,000 to 4 churches that applied for funds; 1,000,000 to the Diaconal Activities
                    Committee

3. Other (for local logistical expenses, designated offerings)                             2,028,897

 

Concerning the Second Campaign

        The outlines for the second campaign and response activities will be drawn up for consideration by the October regular general assembly meeting.


Higashi Sendai Church Volunteer Center
        The council of the Higashi Sendai Church will take over oversight of the Higashi Sendai Church Volunteer Center. They will accept applications for volunteers who wish to serve, oversee their deployment, and do all the bookkeeping. Therefore, Rev. Toyokawa will no longer oversee this activity as he has up until now. A new bank account will be opened to handle the funds related to this center. They have requested direct donations of 1,000,000 for activities up to autumn. We will send detailed account information and activities reports in subsequent new releases.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Reformed Church in Japan Diaconal Action Committee
Emergency Response Headquarters News #15

Great East Japan Earthquake Emergency Donation Campaign (first campaign period) Report

(concerning income)
    In the News #14 we wrote, “We will include gifts received until June 6 in the final report to the general assembly.” After that several more offerings came in a day late with the request that these be included in the first campaign donations, and we have honored those requests. As a result, the total received for the first fund raising campaign as of June 7 has become 52,298,879.
    We give our heartfelt thanks to the Lord that in this brief period of time more than 50 million has been donated. Prayers of the churches have continually been offered in the prayer meetings and pastoral prayers at morning worship since March 11. The collections have been offered right along with everyone’s prayers. We give honor to the name of our God who has made this possible.
    We also give thanks to all of you who have cooperated in this campaign. The Reformed Churches, each with their own difficulties, have joined their hearts together as one. We have also received many offerings from other denominations and from foreign sources. At the special general assembly meeting, we will give a detailed report. In the case of offerings from groups or congregations, we will report the name of the group and the amount. In the case of donations from individuals, we will list only the donors’ names.

(concerning disbursements)
    We are making disbursements for short-term relief assistance in accordance with the “Principles to Guide Use of Funds Raised to Support Relief for the Disaster” (April 11, 2011). We have not realized the goal we set of 60 million for this first campaign period, but we believe that the offerings from each believer are fully in accord with what they have been able to give. Therefore, taking into consideration the actual damages and trying to balance the disbursements with what has been received, we are adjusting the overall image of the disbursements as described below. Please understand that at this stage this is merely our recommendation to the special general assembly (it is not yet final), and corrections and changes are possible in accordance with the deliberations and decisions the assembly may make.
    The actual damages incurred by the churches has turned out to be less that we had imagined at first, and while we are only giving the totals here, we have been able to adjust the disbursements so that these match the gift income we received. In regard to the disbursements for general social relief, while taking into consideration the goal of giving 25% of all funds received for this purpose in accordance with the “Principles,” we have been able to increase this amount somewhat.

 

(Goals)

 (Actual disbursements)

Believers • churches support

42,500,000→

  35,270,000
( believers: 11,500,000 →

13,870,000; churches: 31,000,000→

  21,400,000 )
Social/ecumenical support

15,000,000→

  14,000,000
Other assistance

2,500,000→

  3,028,879
TOTAL   52,298,879

    Compared to raising the funds, there are many more large issues when it comes to making disbursements. Please pray that the Lord who has guided the fund-raising efforts will enable us to distribute the funds appropriately.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Reformed Church in Japan Diaconal Action Committee
Emergency Response Headquarters News #14

Great East Japan Earthquake Emergency Donation Campaign (first campaign period) Report

    Along with your many prayers, the financial offerings for the first campaign period ended on May 31. As of June 1, a total of 46,962,623 has been offered. We report that offerings have also been received from the Japan Presbyterian Church and the Kobe Reformed Presbyterian Christian Church. Thankfully, offerings are continually arriving. We will include gifts received until June 6 in the final report to the general assembly.
    By the way, in the News #11 we wrote, “If there is a shortfall or a surplus, this will be carried over to the second fund raising campaign.” We expect that the general assembly will discuss ongoing fund-raising and the appropriate way to make up the shortfall from our first campaign goal of 60 million. In preparation for that time, we are organizing our thoughts to consider whether we should proceed to the mid, long-range response fund-raising campaign or perhaps revise our program and extend the first campaign until the October general assembly.
    In regard to funds received from June 7 on, these will be pooled and held in the present account until decisions are made about a new campaign. The account that is set up will not be closed. The need for gifts will continue, so we urge your continued cooperation.

Higashi Sendai Church Volunteer Report (by Higashi Sendai Church Pastor Akira Tateishi)

    I praise the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the head of the church. Along with sending my heartfelt thanks for the prayers and offerings to support the volunteer activities based in Higashi Sendai Church, I will report on the activities we are presently involved in.
    We are focusing our volunteer activities in the Touna area of Higashi Matsushima. A member of Higashi Sendai Church lives in the next town over, called Nobiro; it is about 45 minutes by car from Higashi Sendai Church. Like Ishinomaki, this area also had great damage from the tsunami, but government-backed volunteers have hardly been sent at all to this area. It was a small town with about 200-300 homes. At present, about half the population has either moved away, or they are waiting to be housed in temporary housing that might become available. As they wait to see if their names are picked to make them eligible for the temporary housing, they are either staying in shelters or living with relatives, so it appears to me that there may only be about 100 households presently in the town.
    The activities in the Touna area began on Thursday, April 14. It began when I and some other young adult volunteers visited the town and saw a man working by himself to remove the muck from his house. We asked him, “is there anything we can do to help?”
    Right after the earthquake, there were looters and those who used the pretense of being volunteer helpers to get into houses and rob them of jewelry, etc. So at first they looked at us with suspicion. They had us digging mud out of drainage gutters along the roads, but gradually they invited us to work also inside the homes. The neighbors next door or across the street or friends and relatives also asked for our help, and in this way the work gradually expanded. So far, we have worked to clean out about 30 homes.

Our activities have included the following:
 1. removing debris to the curbside for collection by the municipality
 2. taking out debris and unusable furnishings from the homes
 3. demucking the homes
 4. under the oversight of carpenters, ripping out walls, removing tatami mats and flooring, etc.
 5. digging muck out under the floors and spreading lime as an antiseptic measure
 6. replacing flooring with composite panels (plywood)
 7. removing muck from yards and gardens
 8. removing muck from drainage culverts
 9. cleaning dishes, albums and other things that were exposed to the muck
10. replacing broken windows with composite panels

    Of course we don’t do all the activities at every location. There are some homes where the work is basically finished. On the other hand, there are some places where the owners have just now gotten the courage to return and see the condition of their houses. Also, there are houses that the people are living in even though the muck that’s under the floors hasn’t yet been touched.
    “More than a month after the March 11 tsunami, after working alone continuously to clean up the home, I reached the state of physical and mental exhaustion.” “Dying in the tsunami would be hellish, but staying alive and having to carry on here is also hellish.” “There is a mountain of work to be done, but by myself I couldn’t muster the strength even to begin.” We carry on our activities simply believing that Jesus Christ has sent us now, to this community, to these people.
    At first, we simply thought of the people we saw as “victims.” We could only think of their experiences and present situation as “the disaster victim’s experience and reality.” But as we worked day by day continuing our activities in the homes, we were able to talk about many things, we learned their names, we became friends, and we were able to comprehend that day’s experience with the tsunami and the reality they are facing with life now, and what had been remote has come into clear focus in our hearts.
    “I intend to be living here in this town and in this house tomorrow and the next day too.” We who have come from and return to far away Sendai after doing our activities have heard people say this to us. It’s hard to explain, but these words have become engraved in our hearts.
    At this time, the church members, the young adult volunteers and the Emergency Response Headquarters members are considering and consulting concerning our future activities. If possible, I am prayerfully exploring the options so that, even if only a little bit, even if only a tiny bit, I can come beside these folks in Touna for their tomorrow and their day after tomorrow.

(Please refer to the file, “Higashi Sendai Volunteers.pdf” to see some photos of these activities.)


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